The Wayback Machine: 5, 10 and 15 Years Ago in Houston Music

Categories: Catfish Reef

On the third week of June, 1993…The Mothership connected on Richmond: George Clinton made landfall at Rockefeller’s West…Danny "The Humbler" Gatton shredded in the Bon Ton Room. He would kill himself 15 months later…Warren Zevon was at the real Rockefeller’s…Dirty Rotten Imbeciles played a homecoming gig at Catal Huyuk with Necrotic Void and Kathonic…The Butthole Surfers came to the Lone Star Amphitheatre: they’d recently released Independent Worm Saloon on Capitol. “Hell yeah I sold out,” quoth guitarist Paul Leary. “I wanted to sell out a long fucking time ago. You go work the rest of your life for fuckin’ nothin’ and live in squalor. Not me, pal.” (Basehead, fIREhOSE and Stone Temple Pilots were also on the bill)…Also at the Lone Star: South African reggae master Lucky Dube with Burning Spear. Dube was murdered in his home country a year or so ago…The Gay Men’s Chorus joined five other ensembles from elsewhere in Texas in celebration of Gay Pride Week at the Wortham…Lowdown Brown played Sonora del Norte, the last biker bar in downtown Houston…Stephen Buchanan, who would soon come to be known as Opie Hendrix, was holding down Tuesdays at Woodrow’s on Chimney Rock…The Rounders and Carolyn Wonderland played a joint called Carney’s on Kirby – it is now the Big Easy…Buckwheat Zydeco and the Radiators were at the Woodlands Pavilion…Blunt was holding down Sundays at Rudyard’s…The Hightailers performed at the Last Concert Café.

On the third week of June, 1998…Winners of the Press Music Awards were announced. Carolyn Wonderland and her Imperial Monkeys brought in a total of seven, which I think is the record for one year. Wonderland’s Xmas lament “Blue Lights” claimed best song, Eric Dane (guitar) and Leesa Harrington-Squyres (drums) claimed top honors on their respective instruments, and Wonderland was acclaimed as best female vocalist and songwriter of the year. The band was collectively lauded local musician of the year. Other big winners: Middlefinger, Chlorine, and The Hollisters… Sebastian Whittaker laid down a jazz groove all weekend at Cezanne…It was a red-letter day at the Big Easy – in a concert memorialized on the club’s walls to this day, Meter-man George Porter Jr. came to funk shit up…Drowning Pool played Cardi’s…The Southern Backtones were at the Ale House…Sunset Heights bloozed it up in downtown Galveston’s M&M Bar and Grill…Speaking of downtown Galveston in 1998, Hayes Carll was then a staple of the Old Quarter’s open mike night. I met him there one night in either 1998 or 1999…Horseshoe played Mary Jane’s…Tony Vega opened for Lou Ann Barton at Cactus Moon in Humble…Beans Barton and Jimmy Raycraft’s Roaring Calhouns were at Dan Electros…The Dirty Three were at Fitz’s, as was Blue October, which headlined a show opened by Deep Ella and Toy Subs…The Hightailers performed at the Last Concert Café. And this week, at Mary Jane’s too.

On the last week in June, 2003…We covered punk rock karaoke at Rudyard’s, at which Domokos gave a memorable ad-libbed reading of “Chinese Rocks,” while other folks unleashed decades of catharsis. (Domokos was banned from performing after that -- he stole too much of the spotlight.) Sadly, backing band the Rashomon Effect was already cracking under the strain of the creative differences – yes, creative differences in a karaoke band – that would soon doom them…Numbers celebrated 25 years in the business, which, jeez, makes that club 30 now. The soon-to-be-ginormous Black Eyed Peas helped them celebrate the club’s coming of “now I can rent a car” age…Justin and Xtina were at Compaq Center…Melt Banana was at Mary Jane’s (I’m ignoring that it was called Fat Cat’s then intentionally in this and all other posts of this sort.)…Three Fantastic opened a three-band bill at the Rhythm Room, which is now yet another Washington Avenue Douche-a-torium…The Dragons, fronted by Alejandro’s little brother Mario Escovedo, came to Stuka. The Drunks and the Riverboat Gamblers were also on a very strong bill…Jimmy’s Pawn Shop was at St. Pete’s…Some Dallas band called the Filthy Skanks came to Fitz’s, and yours truly saw fit to write a preview consisting of 250 words of pure bile…While it was a slow week, that ink would have been better spilled on the Red Stick Ramblers, who played that week at the Last Concert, as, of course, did the Hightailers. – John Nova Lomax

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